Decker Hunting Terrier

25-38 lbs
18-23"
Oregon
Decker, Decker Giant, Decker Rat Terrier, Decker Giant Rat Terrier

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a breed in development that is currently tracked by the National Rat Terrier Association. Milton Decker began development of the breed in the 1970s using a Smooth Fox Terrier mix dog named Henry that he bred with particular Rat Terriers to propagate Henry’s calmer temperament and superior hunting instincts, as well as keeping his slightly larger size. By the 1980s this strain of canines was breeding true, and in 1995 the National Rat Terrier Association began listing the Decker line on its pedigrees. These dogs are high-energy hunting dogs who get along with most people and other dogs but are likely to pursue any creature that they see as prey. 

Purpose
Hunting
Date of Origin
1970s
Ancestry
Smooth Fox and Rat Terrier

Decker Hunting Terrier Health

Average Size
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 25-38 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 25-38 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Heart Conditions
Minor Concerns
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Skin Allergies
  • Eye Diseases and Disorders
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Dental Issues
Occasional Tests
  • BAER Testing
  • Skin Samples
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Eye and Ear Examination

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed History

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a newer breed, recently developed by a man named Milton Decker near Eugene, Oregon. While shopping for plant stock for his nursery in the 1970s, Decker came across a group of Terriers and Terrier mix dogs at one of the local whole stock gardening supply stores and was offered his pick of the pack. He chose one of the larger dogs, a calmer than average three-year-old weighing about thirty-two pounds. The dog, who Decker dubbed Henry, was a mix between a Smooth Haired Fox Terrier named Frosty Dew and a good ol’ farm dog by the name of Jock, and it didn’t take Henry’s new master long to learn to appreciate the dog’s natural hunting instincts which included tracking, jumping deer, and treeing. When he learned that Henry’s dam passed shortly after he acquired the canine, he decided to breed Henry, in order to preserve his hunting instincts and pleasing temperament. He began searching for high-quality dogs for Henry to breed with, mostly Rat Terriers, preferably larger specimens with a strong hunting instinct and a calm, pleasant temperament, as well as erect ears. A few Basenji dogs were also used in the foundation, giving the breed additional size and prey drive. By the 1980s, the Decker strain was breeding true, and by 1993 Milton Decker was able to leave further development of the breed in the hands of other breeders such as Tim Brown, Arlene Fischer, Rosalie Riner, and many others, along with the help of the National Rat Terrier Association, who has been tracking the Decker bloodline for many years and have allowed the Decker line to be listed on their pedigrees since 1995. 

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed Appearance

The Decker Hunting Terrier, while larger on average than most Rat Terriers, is still a fairly small dog, with the largest of them generally under forty pounds in weight. They are slightly longer in the body than they are tall with compact but flexible bodies and a head that has a smooth, blunt wedge shape with a strong, somewhat tapered muzzle that is slightly shorter than their skull. They have oval-shaped eyes that can come in brown or hazel and have fairly large triangular ears that are positioned high up on the skull and stand erect. Decker Hunting Terriers have smooth, close-lying coats with a shiny appearance that are pied in color, meaning that they are mostly white with large patches of color, typically black, chocolate, red, or blue, although lemon and apricot occasionally crop up as well. Tan points and badger markings are common on these dogs, and they may have looser or slightly wrinkled lips compared to other Fox and Rat type Terriers. 

Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Decker Hunting Terrier eyes
Hazel
brown Decker Hunting Terrier eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
blue Decker Hunting Terrier nose
Blue
black Decker Hunting Terrier nose
Black
brown Decker Hunting Terrier nose
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Decker Hunting Terrier coat
Pied
white Decker Hunting Terrier coat
White
brown Decker Hunting Terrier coat
Brown
gray Decker Hunting Terrier coat
Gray
black Decker Hunting Terrier coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Decker Hunting Terrier straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed Maintenance

This dog’s short, single-layer coat sheds moderately year-round but is easily managed with a thorough weekly or bi-weekly brushing using a slicker brush or grooming glove. Bathing isn’t required on a frequent basis for this breed, and shampoos and other products should be chosen carefully as they are somewhat more prone to skin allergies than average. Attention should be paid to the ears to ensure that they are kept clean and dry in order to prevent infections. Terrier breeds like the Fox Terrier and Rat Terrier that the Decker Hunting Terrier were developed from are also slightly more likely to develop dental disease, so it is important to ensure that their dental hygiene is attended to as well. 

Brushes for Decker Hunting Terrier
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Decker Hunting Terrier requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Decker Hunting Terrier Temperament

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a friendly and joyful hunting companion or family dog. Like most Fox and Rat Terriers, Deckers are very alert and intelligent, but they tend to be slightly less yappy. This breed is inquisitive and eager to learn, so they tend to pick up on commands fairly quickly, and they enjoy accompanying you on excursions. They do not, however, respond as well to boredom or a lack of obedience training which can result in anxious, territorial, or destructive behaviors. They are typically good with children, particularly if socialized with them at an early age and are good with canines their size and up but may chase smaller animals, including smaller dogs. While there are a few breeders who breed the dogs specifically for show or the home, most breeders that specialize in Decker Hunting Terriers continue to breed them to be the active hunting dogs that many of them are employed as.  

Decker Hunting Terrier Activity Requirements

Decker Hunting Terriers, like most terrier breeds, are very high energy dogs that require a great deal of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. This breed has a high prey drive and should be kept on a leash unless they are on the hunt or in a controlled environment as they may chase smaller animals. They are also quite intelligent and attentive, and while their prey drive may occasionally command their attention, they are usually fairly easy to train. Decker Hunting Terriers are versatile canines, and they are likely to excel at hunt-related activities, agility training, and even advanced obedience-centered activities.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Decker Hunting Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Decker Hunting Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 24.0 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 18.5 inches Weight: 24.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 31.5 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 31.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 31.5 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 31.5 lbs

Decker Hunting Terrier Owner Experiences

Harley
6 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She was purchased for breeding but found out she had developed red mange at birth. She’s normal on all aspects except may be able to pass this on to her pups, so we have elected to keep her as a family pet only.
3 weeks, 3 days ago
Honey
7 Months
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
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Had Honey for 3 weeks she is still a pup juSt 7 months old full of energy, extremely smart and eager to play and explore. She can be stubborn and moody when she doesn’t get her way. We been teaching her commands as well as fetching the ball and friSbee
1 month, 1 week ago
Roo
7 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Since he’s 7 months old and I am at the moment having hip surgery we go to large open areas and let him play fetch, etc. He usually runs the whole time and loves it. I eventually will get him trained to my bike so we can both exercise. I only hunt large game but he’s tracked rabbits before and was unable to catch them.
3 months ago
Livi
8 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
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As a puppy she was a nightmare, so much energy and too smart for her own good. Very rebellious and knew the lines she was crossing when she was crossing them. We had to be very firm and consistent with obedience training, and found that she was much more amiable when tired out with plenty of exercise and games that required more skill. She would get bored of fetch but loved hide and seek (hiding treats or ourselves around the house for her to find). Probably her hunting instinct, she seems like she would be very good for that but we have only had her as a family pet. She was very affectionate from the beginning and doesn’t bark unless threatened. Now that she’s mellowed out she is very gentle and has always been good with kids. Smart and loyal but still likes to push boundaries when she sees she can (getting on beds, coming in the kitchen to beg) that’s more our fault for letting her cuteness get to us. She doesn’t need as much exercise as she used to and she still loves as much attention as she can get. Not good at meeting new dogs but very friendly with familiars. (Neighborhood dogs, new puppies). Never really have to bath unless she gets muddy and shedding isn’t too bad if you brush, especially around seasonal changes. We love our livi girl and she has a toy poodle sister that she is very sweet to. Deckers are often cautioned to be kept from small dogs but this one does better with small ones than big because she doesn’t feel as threatened.
5 months, 2 weeks ago
Loki
3 Years
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
They are willing dogs...very lively and full of personality. Our young male seeks small children out to play with as they like to chase and that is his favorite game with kids or other dogs. He has an abundance of energy and is very friendly to all dogs and cats he encounters. Actually he is running for mayor of our village or so it seems.
5 months, 2 weeks ago
Nobu
7 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
He is extremely high energy, ours is not calm at all but he is still a puppy. He is more energy driven than my Papillons. Gets along with all of our toy dogs and every person he meets. Stands at 16.5 inches at withers.
1 year, 3 months ago
Brianna
4 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Gets along well with grandkids and they love her. They help burn some of that energy she is full of. Has been doing very well with house training too. Loves to play with friends dogs.
1 year, 6 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
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